Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Contrast

When I got back from taking Claire to school this morning I grabbed my camera to capture the contrast of beauty outside.


Just a week ago we were having 70 degree weather. I went out for a long walk last Sunday in a sleeveless top, had to put on sunscreen, and was out for three hours basking in the sunshine.

This Sunday morning we woke up to this!


I have one happy little doggy who can't get enough of being outside in it!


Driving back home this morning I was so struck by the contrasts. Green leaves, blue sky, and snow. An odd combo, for sure! But I enjoy it so much.


This isn't the earliest we've ever had snow, so not noteworthy in that respect.


 Just noteworthy for the sake of God's creativity in creation!


Monday, October 29, 2012

Doing what He wants

This week-end I had the joy and privilege of joining Barča, a long time friend and now missionary in Indonesia, up at Malenovice.


While she and her family are home on furlough right now, she is meeting with a precious group of young women from her church in Haviřov for Bible study. To give them some extended time together, she brought them to the one of the cabins for the week-end.


Barča had asked if I would come share with them on Saturday, so I prepared something that I felt would be encouraging from the Word. Little did I know that the Lord would have another agenda for us.

Friday night as I was going over my notes, I had a strong sense that the Lord wanted me to put them away and listen to Him for instructions.

WHAT?! Honestly, this felt a little like going bungee jumping...something I would NEVER do! In 28 years of ministry, I've never gone into a teaching time, a seminar, or a Bible study without knowing what I was going to do. And besides, it just wouldn't be "responsible" to do that!

But I had a very strong sense that He was asking me to do just that.


It turned out to be such an amazing time of being led very specifically by the Lord during our hours together. In fact, He used it to illustrate something from their Bible study that they'd just talked about the night before.

While it was scary to "bungee jump" off the cliff, it was exhilarating to be led by the Spirit and do what He wanted, rather than what I wanted.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Change is in the Air

The weather forecast calls for five inches of snow on Saturday. Really??!!

I guess our beautiful Indian summer, which lasted LONG past what it ever has, is almost done.


I took Kaylee up to my favorite spot to walk late this afternoon. I hate to say it, but we drove there. It was too cold and windy (for me...probably not for her!) to walk from our house.


A change is in the air, for sure. In more ways than one.

Being up there made me feel nostalgic for summer. But even more so, for a home filled with kids, husband, laughter, conversation and...life.

This has been a quiet week with only our dog and I at home.

I feel the change that it is in the air. I know there will be more days like this in the not so distant future, and I'm not altogether sure how I feel about that yet.

What I do know...I'm glad those days are not here yet! Dave and Claire both come home tomorrow.

They will get warm welcomes from wife and mom!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

If It's Tuesday...

"If it's Tuesday...it must be Budapest."

I was just talking on the phone with my brother and that was his response when he asked me about Claire and I told him she was in Budapest today! I know, I know...we never had a senior class trip, especially to someplace like that, did we Mike??!!

Claire met up at the train station in Ostrava this morning with her fourth year (senior) class from BMA to take a six hour trip down to Budapest.

Their home teacher and another teacher from the school are accompanying them the next three days, seeing the sights of Budapest and enjoying some last fun time together before they all start to buckle down and study for the end of the year exams that are already barreling down on them.

Claire plans to keep this smile, for sure in Budapest, but also in the months to come as she gets ready for exams!

Monday, October 22, 2012

How's Caleb?

I've had a number of people ask me recently about how Caleb is doing since he had the steroid epidural a little less than two months ago.

It was a joy and privilege for me to see with my own eyes how he was doing while we were in Chicago recently.

I can tell you that after so many years of watching him suffer, it was an absolute blessed relief not to see pain in his eyes, hear it in his voice, or have him tell me he is in pain.

Yes, praise the Lord...the shot is working!

We don't know how long its effect will last, but we're thankful that he has no pain for now.


We continue to pray for healing of the nerves in his stomach that were damaged years ago, which was the root cause of his pain all this time.

Thank you for continued your prayers for him. Trusting the Lord with what is ahead for him.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

More than just a Board

The image of a board meeting is probably not one that is especially inspiring to anyone. 

That is, unless it's a JV board meeting. Then it's a whole different story!

These board meetings are full of godly men who think, pray, give and are the "keepers", if you will, of Josiah Venture.


Three times a year they gather from all corners of the US, to give their time and hearts to the big picture of JV.

Yesterday they met in Wheaton for yet another board meeting, along with Dave and others who are on the board that live over here in Europe.


I just got off the phone with Dave (who is sitting in an airport in Charlotte, NC waiting for a flight to Birmingham, AL!) who called to tell  me about the meeting. He always gets so excited about time with these men and the things they discuss, think about, pray for, analyze and give input on! They are more than just a board - they are men who deeply care about JV and our part of building God's Kingdom.

He said it was another awesome day with them and those from our team.


For our JV family, it was also the time when they gave Theresa her birthday gift from all of us...your words that I captured in a book with photos of you all (sure glad you all have FB and that I can download photos of you from there!). She wrote me this morning to say how much your words meant to her. Thank you for making that gift possible.


It's been almost nineteen years since we started Josiah Venture. What an incredible blessing it is to be a part of such a wonderful family!

Friday, October 19, 2012

A Different Kind of Soil

This is a powerful letter sent out today by JV missionaries, Kevin and Daniela Dickson. I wholeheartedly encourage you to read it as it gives such a great picture of what is happening here RIGHT NOW.

I know that it's sometimes hard to picture what JV's ministry is like here, how God is working, and how young people are responding to the Gospel. I think this update will give you new insight and understanding into the heart of our vision and mission, and what we long and pray for in the lives of young people across Central and Eastern Europe.


"For the earth will be filled with the knowledge
of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea."
                                                     -Habakkuk 2:14
Empowering Churches in Eastern Europe

...A Different Kind of Soil
Dear Friends and Family,

This past summer, Daniela and I began working on remolding our home here in Czech.  It was a great time for me to be outside and get dirty.  During the process, we rented a digger so that I could dig out a foundation for our entryway.  As I began to dig, I learned that not all soil reacts the same.  In one corner, the soil was soft and came out quickly.  But the other corner was wetter, firmer, denser and clung to the inside of the scoop.  It took me three times the effort to remove the same amount dirt.
God was teaching me a lesson.


Last week we saw incredible things happen in Bardejov. Here is what we know:

* We were able to share our program with over 1,300 students in four schools


* 255 of those students attended at least one of the afternoon activities hosted by the two churches that we partnered with. 


* Just over 500 students came to the concert on Friday and heard the Gospel with almost 200 students asking to hear more about Christ


* And the best yet, over 185 students prayed to receive Christ in their hearts; many occurring during school breaks!


The soil there was FERTILE!


     
 
LEFT: Bardejov AFTERPARTY connecting the local youth groups with our new school friends
RIGHT: FAITH CHILD during the final outreach concert in Bardejov

 

This week we are in Poprad, although the town is only about two hours away, the soil is completely different.

It has been a very difficult week.  Our team has been under constant attack from the enemy.  Our head national leader, Peter, hasn’t been able to sleep most of the week.  One of our lecturers is having nightmares.  One of our lectures is having unbelievable intestinal pain.  And I have spent most of the week sick.


  
 
LEFT: Sindy talking about purity & Christ and her life in the PORN industry
CENTER: Noro taking about addiction & Christ and his life as a drug addict
RIGHT: Mr. Graumann the 'twice saved child'...once from the holocaust and then in Christ


The schools have been difficult as well with yesterday being the hardest; only around 20 students stayed for the closing program.  And yet the Gospel is a powerful tool.  In each school we have seen God do incredible things and begin to change and soften the hearts of these students.
This week has brought us closer together as a team and we’ve finished every night together in prayer for each other and the students.  And I’m asking you to join us in it.


Before the school day opening session in Poprad

Tonight, the 19th of October at 10AM PST, we will begin our final outreach concert for the town of Poprad.  Stand with us in prayer for this city as we cast out seed onto the dry soil; praying against the weeds in this city and for the churches here to be a place of enriched soil for new Christians to grow up in.

We need your prayers.  Will you join us?

In Him,
- Kevin and Daniela


   
our band members: Aaron, Michal, Joseph, Michael - FAITH CHILD

PRAYER REQUESTS
  • For the 185 new Christians in Bardejov
  • For the students of Poprad whom we met this week
  • For the concert tonight
  • For our team to stay healthy to be bold in sharing the Gospel
  • For the band and their testimonies during the show
  • For fertile soil to be found here in Poprad. 


FIND OUT MORE!
If you would like to read more about what we have been up to for the past few months,
click here to read more!



Copyright © 2012, All rights reserved.

Josiah Venture: Czech Republic

Kevin & Daniela Dickson
Vendryne 604, 739 94
Czech Republic


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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ellie

During the year we lived in Wheaton for Dave's graduate work, I first met Ellie as a middle-schooler.

Somehow twenty years have passed since then. But during that time it's been absolutely delightful to watch her grow into a beautiful young woman with a precious testimony of God's grace and faithfulness in her life.

Today, that testimony is being deepened and strengthened as she and her family endure one of the most difficult challenges: a child with cancer.

When I read this blog post of hers, my heart just ached..."When a Seizure is a Blessing". It's the first of many blog posts about Chase, their two year old son, who is very unexpectedly battling AT/RT, a rare form of cancer.

This past Sunday I got to see Ellie and her oldest daughter, Darcy, for just a few moments after the evening service at our church in Warrenville, IL. I can't even begin to tell you how sweet it was to share a few moments together, and to see the light of Christ shining out from her pretty face.

What they are enduring is HARD...for sure. But somehow in the midst of it, she radiates faith and trust and belief that God is still good.

As you read this, will you pray for Ellie and her husband, Bob...and for Darcy, Aiden, Chase and Karsten. That God will sustain them through this very difficult trial, that He would bring healing to Chase's body, and that they will be strengthened for the days ahead.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Birthday Surprise

Last week in Chicago held so many special memories! One of which was celebrating my dear friend, Theresa's, 60th birthday (which is today).

A couple weeks ago while she was here in Czech, I casually asked her if Amy and I could take her out for dinner to celebrate her birthday while we were in Chicago (since both of us happened to be going there at the same time).

Little did she know that her daughter, Amber, had contacted me to arrange a little surprise party! My job was to get her to the restaurant without giving away the surprise. And that I did!

I love this photo of Theresa and Amy...little does Theresa know what's awaiting her in just a few minutes! If only there was a video to go along with what happened next! :)


I gave my name at the front desk saying we had a reservation for three, as had been planned by Amber. The host played it very cool as he walked us back through the restaurant saying we could sit by the fireplace to the right, or in a small room to the left.

As we came to the doors of the private room to the left, Theresa said she was thinking, "Why would he take us to a table where other women are already seated?" And then..."Surprise!" Only at that moment did she realize who those women were!


Not only was she surprised by her friends who were there, but her daughters, Amber and Kristi (who had driven down from Michigan to be there) as well!


It was a delightful evening of celebrating our dear Theresa. I know each one of us would say the same thing - we're so grateful for the gift of our relationships with her!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Goodbye for Now

After a fabulous week-end spent with our family, the inevitable arrived.


A quick trip to the train station in Winfield to send them back downtown to Moody where they all are studying.


Though Caleb will be home at Christmas, we won't see Tyler and Lara until next summer.


It's nice to know they have each other...that makes it a tiny bit easier to say goodbye.


Well...sort of. It's been so special being together that we'll miss them a lot!!


Claire and I are headed home by ourselves today, while Dave still has ten more days in the States before he'll join us back at home.

**Thanks for the photos Claire! :)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Called

Tears streamed down our faces yesterday as we watched the closing session of Moody's mission's conference.


Dr. Nyquist, the President of Moody, had given a call to the students. He asked any who have felt called, whether during this week or previously, to giving their lives to cross cultural missions, to come to the front of the auditorium. Pretty standard procedure for a Bible college mission's conference.


But what happened after that was spine tingling...even as I type this I'm having the same feeling!

Hundreds and hundreds of Moody students came forward, streaming down the aisles and filling every inch of space not only in the front, but down the sides of the auditorium, on the platform and up in the balcony. They just kept coming and coming.


I was clicking pictures to capture the moment, but honestly couldn't see anything I was taking because of my tears. It was a profound moment.

And this was all after the last speakers for the conference had talked about the cost of giving your life to the spreading of the Gospel. The dying to self that must happen in order for the life of Christ to come forth.

And yet they came. Signifying to the Lord, to their friends, to their professors, that they are willing to give their lives in order for Christ to be known.


My heart was just about to burst as I thought about those who will know Jesus because of the obedience of these students who came forward yesterday. That truly makes me crazy happy!

Tyler and Caleb had the privilege of leading worship for that last session. My heart was bursting with joy watching them lead their fellow students in worship of the Lord, the One we all love and serve. Truly a joy and privilege to be led by our sons!

 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Grace and Theresa

In 1991 Dave and I, and little one year old Tyler, moved to Wheaton, IL so Dave could get his Master's degree at Wheaton College. Little did we know what a tremendous impact that would have on our lives.

At the suggestion of a former student from our youth ministry in Germany, we attended Grace Church of DuPage our first Sunday in the States. We never went anywhere else!

Fast forward twenty one years later.

Last night I had the privilege of speaking to the ladies of Grace along with my dear friend, Theresa Kerns. Her husband was the pastor at Grace when we arrived all those years ago. Rich discipled Dave that year, having a tremendous life impact that remains to this day.

Sadly, after a battle with cancer, the Lord took him home just three years later in 1994. But Theresa and her children grew to be like family to us, and have remained dear friends as the years have gone by. She now serves with us in JV, which is a huge blessing!

What a joy to share together last night, with our precious sisters at Grace, who have also become dearer and dearer as these years have gone by.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

To the Nations

Tuesday night was the opening of Moody's mission's conference downtown Chicago. If I wasn't already a missionary, I would've been motivated to become one after such an inspiring evening of considering the call to missions!

Students from different nations began the conference by carrying in the flag from their nation and displaying them all in front of the auditorium. Super moving to see those flags and think about the Gospel going out around the world through these students some day.

Caleb represented the Czech Republic wearing a special suit that belongs to a man who was chief of one of the mines in our area of Czech. He wore it during the days of Communism for official mining events, so it's got some history behind it!

The man who loaned it is a friend of a friend and was willing to let me bring it all the way to the States for Caleb to wear at the opening of conference. Can you imagine what a different setting this suit was being worn in on Tuesday night than where it has been worn in the past?! Love thinking about that.

We will be back down at Moody tomorrow morning for the closing of mission's conference. I'm praying that some students will have been called by God THIS WEEK to give their lives to missions, to bringing the Gospel to the nations.